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Open Letter From A Congolese To Madame Fatou Bensouda

Lettre Ouverte de Chantal Faida à A Madame Fatou Bensouda

After 96 months of proceedings before the ICC, Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Congolese vice-president, found guilty, because “criminally responsible” for serious crimes committed by his troops of the MLC (rebel group at the time) in RCA, 6 months between 2002 and 2003. A first case in court, a big step!

To Madam Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, RCA

Warm congratulations on your audacity,

Zo Kwé Zo is a word spoken daily in the CAR which means: a man is worth a man. There are no sub-men or super-men, just men. In RSA, on the other hand, it is called Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu; I am what I am because of who we all are.

I bathe you in this African collective memory because somewhere, I had to see an injustice in our values. No one – you are the pioneer – has ever thought of raising the anchor of this dogma to establish a sacredness of the human person as a way of life.

From a young age, I was taught that the leader is a legend who embodies the truth and that he is never at fault, even if he fails to punish troublemakers. He is therefore considered as such, and he enjoys an excessive immunity.

I was not taught the names of the chiefs, but only their qualifiers: your honor, his majesty, oh king, to be most reverent…

In the end, I realized that Ubuntu was limited to an aristocratic clan. The average citizen remains an eternal victim. No one to listen to his needs. A monumental mistake.

Madam Prosecutor,

Today I learn from you a new qualifier to attribute to an African leader, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, obviously preceded by empathy.

A good leader takes responsibility even when it’s tough.

By bringing justice to the thousands of Central African victims,

You have broken the chain of indignity that has plagued Africa so far.

Now more than ever, the blood of the innocent, the cry of the vulnerable and the moan of the victim regardless of social status will fall to a court for redress. The International Criminal Court.

By this admission of guilt of a former dignitary in the Congo, you send a strong message to those who consider themselves absolute masters, powerful, untouchable and reigning over lives without any fear. A belligerent and unacceptable method that took on worrying dimensions in many African countries. Recurring rebellions at all winds and all ends of the field. No one to stop the fatal tragedy of heartless men with gluttonous appetites for power. If they want human power, they have only to resort to the peaceful and non-violent means known for ages, elections.

Madam Prosecutor,

You are a sun rising on the dark planet where injustice shone and inhumanity took over space. A comforter of bereaved souls. A powerful hand that corrects human disrespect for any reason.

No offense to your detractors who claim the overthrow of the pyramid in the lawsuits against large fish, large vegetables in the West. Each journey begins with one step, then two, then three… Never two without one.

With all gratitude, I ask the International Criminal Court, in addition to its traditional objective – to put an end to exactions, to punish the executioners, to fight against oblivion, and to deter potential criminals from committing war crimes, genocides and other crimes against humanity- to get involved in stifling any other deadly conflict in the world.

You have my full support in your struggle.

Long life.

The voice of hope.

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